Cheltenham Festival day 1 tips for the 2015 Champion Hurdle. We will try to answer the question, is Faugheen the real deal?
Is there a more exciting race than this at the 2015 Cheltenham Festival? What a race in prospect this is with a mix of young pretenders and golden oldies set to do battle again up the Cheltenham hill. I will look at the race and talk about why Faugheen can be beat at the Festival.
Faugheen is currently best odds 5/4 with Paddy Power to win the Champion Hurdle.
Will Faugheen win the Champion Hurdle?
Does experience count?
When you look down the expected entrants list for this race there are some absolute superstars in that field, Faugheen included. You have Hurricane Fly, the horse that continues to defy his age and perform to the absolute peak of his powers. Last year’s winner Jezki, and of course, the unlucky horse of last year’s race, The New One. The reason I ask is experience important is for a number of reasons. You look at the horses mentioned above and they have all got big Grade 1 race experience. Hurricane Fly with over 20 Grade One successes, Jezki won the 2014 Champion Hurdle, THE NEW ONE has 11 wins from 15 and a few Grade One successes and more importantly experience against top class opposition. I am by no means suggesting Faugheen isn’t of their ilk, he most certainly is, but who has beaten so far in his 7 out of 7 successes? With the exception of Josses Hill I would argue the rest have hardly pulled up trees. This begs the question, how will he handle a tactically run race by his competitors. I just hope everything hasn’t been all too easy for him.
Is Faugheen a good hurdler?
By all accounts, yes. But occasionally, no. I understand every horse doesn’t jump perfectly every race and is more than certain to clip the top of a few every time he does run. For example, The New One is a temperamental type who occasionally jumps out to the left when jumping or can be a bit clumsy, the same applies to Jezki also. The only horse in the field who’s jumping cannot be questioned is Hurricane Fly. However, when Jezki gets it right and has an error free trip, he is very hard to stop as he was last year. Also if it wasn’t for a blunder last time out, he could have beaten Hurricane Fly. Some people will argue Faugheen has done what he has needed to do to win. I’d agree. But being very critical (and I mean very critical) there has been a couple of example of inexperience, for example last time out at Kempton, he was a little bit disorganised over the last. People will say yes but he still won. Again, I agree, but he was not up against horses who were there to punish any mistakes being made. This time he will be so should he make a mistake he will not be all alone out the front. Then again, he may be, dependent on how good he really is at this level.
Who will ride Faugheen in the Champion Hurdle?
This is apparently a done deal already, according to reports Ruby Walsh will ride Faugheen leaving Hurricane Fly spare. However, as it is not yet confirmed, what if Ruby decided to go with his heart and ride Hurricane Fly? Could that leave Faugheen exposed? My reasoning behind this is that due to Faugheen only being seven runs into his career, he needs a steady experienced head to ride him in what will be (in my opinion) a tactically run race where some will bowl on in front and try and take the steam out of others. So what happens if another jockey took the ride? A big doubt that will happen granted, but always food for thought.
Champion Hurdle Betting Tip
I have had to be very cynical when discussing reasons why Faugheen won’t win the 2015 Champion Hurdle. I simply hope all the horses in the race perform to their absolute best because if they do, we could end up with 4 or 5 horses separated by a length or two. It is certainly the most exciting race of the Cheltenham Festival for me and I think Faugheen is a fantastic horse, but my Champion Hurdle betting tip on day 1 goes to last year’s unlucky loser The New One as he has a fantastic turn of foot that I don’t believe many can live with and if he jumps well, he will be hard to beat.
The New One to win the Champion Hurdle – best odds 3/1 with Betfred.
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